The Pursuit Fellowship is a software engineering and professional development program that prepares adults with low incomes to pursue high-tech careers and become industry leaders. Although Pursuit has documented the Fellowship’s success—Fellows’ average annual salaries are $85,000 after the first year of training and many secure positions at major Fortune 500 companies—it seeks a rigorous evaluation to generate better evidence of the program’s impact. This evidence will allow Pursuit to scale the Fellowship to meet the significant demand for effective workforce training aimed at workers stuck in the low-wage labor market.
Pursuit will partner with researchers affiliated with J-PAL North America to conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of its Fellowship program. RCTs are considered the gold standard in generating evidence and replicating and scaling social programs, and J-PAL specializes in conducting RCTs. Researchers Lawrence Katz, David Autor, and Matthew Notowidigdo will collect and analyze employment and earnings data of control and treatment groups over five years to generate evidence on the fellowship’s efficacy in creating economic mobility for program participants.